Tips for Christmas Shopping...

Welcome friends!  Today we are talking about my go to tips for Christmas shopping (really any kind of shopping you might do and need organizing help - think birthdays, baby registry too!).  Christmas, gifts, and everything about the season is a favorite.

I like to be organized though because I want to focus on the fun of the season and not be stressed about what I have to do or buy for so here are my top tips.  Please share yours, I am all ears.  I love a good tip.

And just for kicks, yesterday I shared my guide to all things kid gifts...if you are needing inspiration, check it out.

Last Christmas - we love matching Christmas PJ's (These were from Hanna Andersson)

Create an Amazon Wish List  

Create it now and use it all year.  As you think of things, add to the list.  If your child sees something at the store or a friends house, you can add it to your wishlist right from the app on your phone (or take a photo and add it later).  When it comes to Christmas shopping you will already have a bank of ideas.  I have a couple wishlists.

A Public Family Wish List - we add to that for gift ideas for family who ask.

A Private Wish List - this is for items I might want to get my kids, books I am wanting to read that were recommended,  and other random gift ideas I have for people.  It's a bank of ideas that I add to as I think of it.  My brain is shot after 3 kids, this helps me remember!

To create an amazon wishlist, go to the amazon homepage and on the top righthand side of the page you will see an icon for lists.  Simply click on that and it will direct you to create a wish list page.

Click on Wish List, name it and create your list (make sure you pick whether you want it public or private, you can even email it to inquiring grandparents).  Then you can search for items and instead of placing in your shopping bag, you can add to your list.  If you have multiple lists, like I do, you can move items between lists as well. 

Another feature I like is it will tell you if the price has dropped since you placed it on your wish list.  Last year, I watched this kidcraft kitchen fluctuate in price and then I snatched it up when it was a at a lower price.  I find that prices will start to increase the closer to Christmas but right now Legos and other toys are offered at a discount compared to big box retailers.  

Create some sort of List & Budget

(This is an old spreadsheet - can't give away any secrets ;)

 If you are like me there are a lot of people you need to shop for, from your own kids and husband to extended family, neighbors, teachers, tumbling instructors, the mailman, etc.  Create a list of everyone you buy for and then print it.  From there pencil in ideas for each person and then cross-off their name when items are purchased.

Set a budget.  I have a 3rd column in each list so I can set an amount for each gift.  On one side of our extended family we set limits which really helps,  $30 for kid gifts and $40 for adult gifts.  Everyone's budget is different but know what is feasible for your family and stick to it, its the thought behind the gift not the amount you spend!

I have a separate spreadsheet for my kids because I like to spend around the same amount and have the same number of gifts for each child from Santa.  The list helps me visually see what I have and what I need to buy!  Having a spreadsheet helps me to not go overboard!

Another way to stay on budget is to purchase used but good quality items at garage sales, consignment stores, and online swap sites.  When Solon was young, I got a nearly new Little Tykes basketball hoop for $10 (1/3 of the retail price), we would have put it together anyway so we didn't need the box.  I also have purchased wooden trains, GeoTrax, our bounce house, outdoor toys -- all 2nd hand and my kids don't care, it's new to them.  

Shop all year

Or start now ;)!  I shop all year and have a special hidden tote to place my finds in.  If I see something I know someone will just go crazy for, I buy it and save it.  NOW here's the kicker, as you're formulating your list (as I mentioned above), you have to go to said secret tote and list all that stuff on there so you know what you have left to buy.  Keep your eyes open!

Complete Most Shopping by December 1

I might lose some of you here but December is CRAZY, amen?  Our calendars are full.  Imagine if MOST of your shopping was taken care of by December 1st?  Now inevitably, someone will pop up you have to buy for or your kid will think of some must have toy they just have to have but for the most part have your shopping done by December 1.  Again, prices tend to be cheaper online before the holiday rush.  Which brings me to my next tip, we help get most of my shopping done.

Shop Online.

I can't shop with my kids, and when do I not have my kids???  Online shopping saves me.  When items come to my door in an amazon box, my kids don't know what's inside.  Keep a look out for free shipping (even now) and coupons from where you are buying.  

A few other tips --
What are your go to shopping tips?  I love a good tip, so please share in the comments.  
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